What Happens When You’re Accused of a Crime? 3 Important Steps to Take
Every person might get accused of a crime any day. It does not matter whether you committed the crime or not, but no one knows about tomorrow. It might be something you did but did not intend to do or something that happened at work.
Whether you think you are innocent or not, the most important thing is to make sure that you know the steps to take for you to get your rights and a good outcome. Depending on where you come from, some procedures need to be followed when accused of a crime.
In the United States of America, for example, there are basic things that you need to know about and some important steps you need to take when you are accused of a crime. They include;
Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer
The criminal justice system in the U.S. does not require one to be a professional lawyer for them to represent themselves. You are not even required to hire one when you are accused of a crime. This means that you have a right to represent yourself.
However, this is one of the worst-case scenarios you can find yourself in. This is because you will need legal training for you to effectively represent yourself. Legal representatives such as the New Brunswick criminal lawyers are highly trained, and you do not need to risk going to jail when you can contact them and let them represent you in court.
These lawyers know how the court system and the law at large work and can handle your case in a way that you cannot handle yourself, or anyone else in that matter.
They can even give you their expected outcome of the case, ensure that you are acquitted, or help you get into a deal with the prosecutors.
Understand Your Basic Rights
In most countries such as the U.S, the constitution states that every person has a right to trial when they are accused of a crime. Sometimes, a defendant might ignore their right to be tried by a jury and go for a plaintiff or a judge.
Nonetheless, the right to trial by a grand jury remains. Additionally, you need to remember that you are still innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
You are not even required to prove that you are innocent. The work of proving that the accused is guilty of a criminal offense belongs to the plaintiff.
On the other hand, the prosecutors are supposed to present a strong case that leaves no gaping holes or any doubts that you are guilty of the crime you are accused of. This is important in protecting your rights.
You need to always remember that you are not obligated to prove your innocence to anyone. You are innocent until proven guilty. This can help you make a strong case and think clearly during the case proceedings.
Understand Trial Proceedings
You will not go through trial proceedings just because you are accused of a crime. The prosecutors have to collect and present enough evidence to the grand jury.
The jury will then go through the evidence and decide on whether you can go to trial or not, based on how strong the evidence is. In a situation where the jury thinks that the evidence is not enough, then you will not proceed to trial.
In case you are indicted, you will then be arraigned in court where a judge will let you know about the crime you are accused of, give you the options you have for defense, and then give you a chance to enter a plea. Here, you choose no contest, guilty, or not guilty.
No contest means that even though you are not admitting that you are guilty, you are not going to fight the charges leveled against you. If you plead not guilty, you then proceed to trial by the jury.
In a nutshell, just like everyone knows the steps to take when their car is stolen, then you must also know everything that you need to do when you are accused of a crime, whether you are guilty or not. This is more important.
Getting accused of a crime does not always mean that you are guilty. However, you need to be well prepared for you to get through the accusation and avoid spending time in jail. Following the steps discussed above will help you when you find yourself in such a situation.